Garlicky Beluga Lentils, Roasted Carrots, Pomegranate and Zhoug

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This colorful meal is as delicious as it’s vibrant and fun to look at. Garlicky beluga lentils are layered on a bed of thick, vegan yogurt and toped with sweet and earthy roasted carrots and drizzled with a zippy zhoug sauce and sprinkled with pomegranates. A seasonal meal that will please the most discerning meat eater!

  • Author: Sunny Gandara
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Vegan



For the lentils: 
1 ½ cups (200 grams) beluga lentils
1 small onion, halved
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, one smashed and the other minced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the carrots:
2 lbs (1 kilo) rainbow carrots (Save the tops)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or sub balsamic vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Zhoug:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon cardamom seeds (from about 6 pods)
½ teaspoon whole cloves
2 jalapeños or serrano chiles, seeded and sliced thin
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch cilantro (stems are ok to include)
1 cup (25 grams) carrot top leaves (discard stems)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or Aleppo pepper)
½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from 1 small lime
Kosher or sea salt to taste

For the topping: 
½ cup (125 grams) vegan labneh or Greek Yogurt
½ cup (80 grams) pomegranate seeds


To make the lentils:
Place the lentils, onions, carrot, smashed garlic clove and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Add a tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon or so of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender but not mushy.

Drain the lentils and reserve about ½ cup (125 ml) of the cooking liquid.

Return the lentils to the pan and stir in the minced garlic clove, red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt and set aside to cool (add a little of the reserved cooking before serving if they turn a bit dry).

To make the carrots:
Preheat the oven to 425°F (210°C) and set aside a rimmed sheet tray.

Wash and scrub the carrots and halve them lengthwise, leaving smaller carrots whole.

Place the carrots in a large bowl and toss them with a little olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the pomegranate molasses and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Place the carrots in a single layer onto the sheet tray and roast until the carrots are tender, browned, and skins are wilted. This should take about 30 minutes but check a little before as all ovens are different. Turn the carrots halfway through (after 15 minutes). Remove the carrots from the oven, drizzle them with the other tablespoon of pomegranate molasses. Set aside to cool slightly.

To make the zhoug:
Toast the spices in a skillet over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant then crush them in a mortar and pestle along with the salt (alternatively, pulse them lightly in a spice grinder). Add the chilis, garlic and cilantro stems and pound until a coarse paste form. Add the cilantro and carrot top leaves a little at a time and pound until a nice green coarse paste. Finally, add the lime juice and olive oil and season to taste with salt.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a mortar and pestle: Add the spices to the bowl of a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the mixture is coarse.

To assemble the dish:
Spread a thin layer of labneh or Greek vegan yogurt on a serving plate, top with the lentils and then the roasted carrots. Drizzle with the zhoug, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve with your favorite glass of wine.




If you can’t find vegan labneh or Greek yogurt in your market, strain regular yogurt in a cheesecloth or a clean, fine towel placed in a colander over a bowl overnight in the fridge, to let some of the liquid out (Labneh is essentially just thickened yogurt).

If you are unable to find pomegranate molasses, you can substitute good quality, thick balsamic vinegar.